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The General (1926)

Unrated  |   |  Action, Adventure, Comedy  |  24 February 1927 (France)
8.3
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Ratings: 8.3/10 from 44,144 users  
Reviews: 227 user | 102 critic

When Union spies steal an engineer's beloved locomotive, he pursues it single-handedly and straight through enemy lines.

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Cast

Complete credited cast:
...
...
Glen Cavender ...
Jim Farley ...
Frederick Vroom ...
Charles Henry Smith ...
Annabelle's Father (as Charles Smith)
Frank Barnes ...
Joe Keaton ...
Union General
Mike Donlin ...
Union General
Tom Nawn ...
Union General
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Storyline

Johnnie loves his train ("The General") and Annabelle Lee. When the Civil War begins he is turned down for service because he's more valuable as an engineer. Annabelle thinks it's because he's a coward. Union spies capture The General with Annabelle on board. Johnnie must rescue both his loves. Written by Ed Stephan <stephan@cc.wwu.edu>

Plot Summary | Plot Synopsis

Taglines:

Buster drives "The General" to trainload of laughter. (Trade paper ad). See more »


Certificate:

Unrated | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

 »
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Details

Country:

Language:

Release Date:

24 February 1927 (France)  »

Also Known As:

General  »

Filming Locations:

 »

Box Office

Budget:

$750,000 (estimated)
 »

Company Credits

Show detailed on  »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

(1982) | (1962) | (2003 alternate) |

Sound Mix:

Color:

(Sepiatone)

Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
See  »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

There were three locomotives used in the film, one as the General, the Texas, and a spare engine. The spare engine had been originally intended to play the Texas, but the engine that ultimately got that role was found to be in better condition. The spare engine played the role of the Union engine up to the bridge scene, where it played the Texas as it crossed the bridge. See more »

Goofs

The cowcatchers on Western & Atlantic RR trains had horizontal bars, rather than the vertical ones seen on all three trains in the film. See more »

Quotes

[first lines]
Annabelle's brother: Fort Sumter has been fired upon.
Mr. Lee: Then the war is here.
Annabelle's brother: Yes, dad, and I'm going to be one of the first to enlist.
See more »

Connections

Edited into The Golden Age of Buster Keaton (1975) See more »

Frequently Asked Questions

See more (Spoiler Alert!) »

User Reviews

 
An instant favorite
27 January 2008 | by (United States) – See all my reviews

I haven't had so much fun watching a movie for a long time. The General is a silent comedy (mostly slapstick) about Johnny Gray, a train engineer with two loves: his engine and Annabelle Lee. Annabelle soon dumps him because of his failure to enlist into the Civil War (they would not take him because he was too valuable as an engineer). Things are then sped up a year, where we see some Union commanders planning to hijack a train to unleash a highly sophisticated master plan. As it so happens, they steal Johnny's engine, a big mistake.

Buster Keaton does a phenomenal performance as Johnny. His face and character is ideal for this type of comedy. He reminds me a lot of Leslie Nielsen from the Naked Gun movies (but, of course, less old). He is often ignorant of what is going on around him, leading to plenty of laughs. This also makes him a very charismatic character.

There are countless train related jokes. The first one comes right at the beginning, when we see Johnny being followed by two kids and a woman, in a line much like a train. The bulk of the movie is made up of Johnny running a train, either chasing or fleeing from the Union soldiers. The movement and maneuvering of the trains is beautiful. The stunt work is an incredible accomplishment. The finale is explosive.

The General was a lot of fun to watch. It gave me more laughs than most modern comedies, and had plenty of substance on top of that. This is enough for me to label it as one of the greatest comedies ever. After my first viewing, it instantly became one of my favorites. It is timeless gem that should be watched at least once by anyone interested in movies.


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